Why You Should Think Twice Before Throwing Away Leftover Anchovy Oil

Anchovies are one petite protein that is either loved or loathed. Eaten on their own, they can be overly salty and fishy for some people's preference — yet, when worked into recipes, that's an entirely different story. A single filet packed in oil can be the secret ingredient to a surplus of otherwise unassuming dishes, proving that there definitely should be a place for the humble anchovy in your kitchen pantry. But, what about the leftover oil?

Good quality anchovies may come at a price, but they are worth the investment. Time and time again, many chefs tend to favor one brand in particular: Ortiz. Packed in an eye-catching yellow tin with red and blue print, the Spanish anchovies are nothing short of luxurious. According to Olive Magazine, the filets are delicately salt-kissed with a silkiness that seems to melt once they meet your mouth. Naturally, an anchovy this incredible is packed in equally amazing olive oil, which should have you thinking twice about throwing it away once you've finished the filets inside.

In order to conserve leftover anchovy oil, storage is simple. Much like an opened tin of anchovies, oil should be placed in a sealable container in the fridge where it can last for several weeks or even months, notes The Guardian. But, why should you be keeping all that anchovy oil anyway?

Leftover oil is rich with flavor

First of all, discarding leftover oil can be a hassle. According to SeQuential, pouring the fatty liquid down the drain can harden pipes and create tough residues that can lead to plumbing nightmares and result in costly fines. Although one solution to dumping oil is to recycle it through a local collection program, we suggest repurposing it in the kitchen. In addition to being a waste-free kitchen hack, cooking with leftover oil is — in a word — delicious. 

Given that anchovies have been resting in the oil for quite some time, they've undoubtedly infused a world of flavor (especially, umami) into the otherwise neutral oil. Slightly salty and mildly savory, Eater shares that the oil from any tinned fish can be used to cook with so long as you consider balance. While it's always wise to taste-test, a drizzle of oil in most recipes is quite welcome. For instance, Donostia recommends adding a spoonful when whipping up anything from aioli to salad dressings, pasta sauces to fried eggs, and even pan-toasted bread crumbs.

If, however, you're not a fan of the briny, fish-scented oil, then there is one more alternative. According to Shelf Cooking, leftover oil can be drizzled (in moderation) over your pet's food, as a treat. However, when reimagined in the right way, we doubt that you'll want to share any anchovy oil with Fido!